(MURFREESBORO, Tenn.)—Monica Johnson, director of Generation for Creation (GFC), a nonprofit visual and performing arts program based in Murfreesboro, is pleased to announce the winners of this year's Children's Benefit Talent Show, which was held July 28 at MTSU's Tucker Theater.
Now in its fifth year, the annual GFC talent event showcases children ages 7-17 in the categories of art, dance, drama, music and modeling. This year's event featured Columbia, Tenn., native Lynnette Cole, Miss USA 2000, as its mistress of ceremonies, along with a three-member judges' panel composed of Mary Caruthers Scales, a longtime Rutherford County educator and respected community leader; Greg Lyons, a freelance illustrator whose work has been featured in major film productions and exhibited at MTSU's Linebaugh Library; and Leah Beth Bolton, an award-winning actress, volunteer for children's charities and the reigning Miss Southern Tennessee Teen.
Regarding this year's contestants, "These children are moving up in the world,” remarked Johnson, GFC's founder. “I have heard so many great things about this year's performers, such how professional they looked, how amazing they were … and that it was great that all the children (who participated) received something.
“I really enjoyed our talent because it is always so diverse—from classical music, country and original songs, to stand-up comedy and modeling,” she added. “I am so impressed with the creativity of these children and glad that GFC and its sponsors can partner to provide a local contest that offers children the opportunity to compete on a professional level.”
In this year's Art category (ages 7-17), the winners were as follows: 1st place, Aaliyah Gore, Antioch Middle School student, for a self-portrait; 2nd place, Sterling Scott, a student at Rockvale Elementary School, for “The Floating Lotus”; and 3rd place, Dakoda Rollins, a student at Rock Springs Middle School, for “Before the Storm,” a watercolor/crayon piece.
In the Instrumental category (ages 7-17) the 1st -place prize went to Sarah Smith, a student at the Enswood School , for her piano sonata performance, while 2nd prize was awarded to violinist Sterling Scott for his performance of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and 3 rd prize to Aaliyah Gore for performing a piece by Mozart on the flute.
In the Music category (ages 7-12), 1st place was awarded to Sunshine Scott, a student at Rockvale Elementary School, for her vocal rendition of “Blue Bayou,” with 2nd place going to Mary Grace Williams, a student at Homer Pittard Campus School, for her vocal performance of “Anyway” and 3rd place winner Molly Kenny, also a student at Homer Pittard Campus School,” for her choreographed vocal rendition of “Be My Baby.”
In the ages 13-17 division of the Music category, 1st prize was taken by Wesley Stiles, a student at Blackman High School, for her interpretation of “Orange-Colored Sky, while Dakoda Rollins garnered 2nd prize for his original composition titled “3 Nails, 1 Cross, Forgiven” and Chanice Gore, a student at Nashville School for the Arts, placed 3rd with her performance of “I Turn to You.”
Winners in the Modeling category (all ages), which was featured for the first time in this year's show and featured a back-to-school theme, are as follows: 1st place, Aaliyah Gore; 2nd place, Sterling Scott; and 3rd place, Chanice Gore.
In the Drama category (all ages), the winners included 1st place to Sterling Scott for his comedy routine; 2nd place to Dakoda Rollins for his original comedy and tribute to Red Skelton; and 3rd place to Sunshine Scott, who performed scenes from the “Annie” musical.
The show's Dance category (all ages) featured prize winners Chanice Gore, who won 1st place for her jazz-meets-hip-hop performance to “It's My Turn Now”; Aaliyah Gore, who took 2nd place for her jazz-infused dance to a tune dubbed “Made”; and 3rd place winner Avionna Carrigan, a student at Blackman Middle School, for her jazz-meets-ballet performance to “El Tango de Roxanne.”
Beauty queen Cole, who returns to Tennessee from her current home in Minnesota each year to serve as the show's hostess and support the children, said, “Each year my spirit is renewed knowing that Generation for Creation exists giving children a place to encourage, develop, create and express their talents. Sometimes we all need to remember our dreams as a child and aspire to be everything we want to be."
Each student who participated in the 2007 GFC event received a certificate of appreciation. Additionally, the top three winners in each category received cash prizes, along with a trophy.
“Generation for Creation is very grateful to our sponsors and Sigma Alpha Iota at Middle Tennessee State University,” remarked Johnson, who said GFC could not fulfill its outreach-through-the-arts mission without the generous and ongoing support of its sponsors.
For more information about GFC, including information about its weekly acting classes for children, upcoming productions or volunteer/sponsorship information, please access its Web site at http://www.gfckids.org or call 615-890-7116.
***ATTENTION, MEDIA: To request interviews with Johnson or this year's winning contestants, please contact Lisa L. Rollins in the Office of News and Public Affairs at MTSU at 615-898-2919. Jpegs of Johnson or this year's GFC participants also may be directed to Rollins at the aforementioned number of via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .